POCKLINGTON Arts Centre is celebrating its “biggest and best”
Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend yet.
Hosted by guitarist Robbie McIntosh and blues slide
guitarist Michael Messer from November 15 to 17, this annual event drew a full
house of students from across Britain and raised £20,000 for the Pocklington
The students spent the weekend being tutored by McIntosh,
who has toured with Paul McCartney, Norah Jones, and The Pretenders, and fellow
regular host Messer.
The three-day event featured guitar and slide guitar
tuition, jam sessions, student performances and the Acoustic Blues House Party,
when Pocklington Arts Centre opened its doors to the public for a one-off
concert starring Messer and McIntosh.
The opening day was featured in an afternoon live broadcast
on BBC Radio Humberside with presenter Phil White and his crew.
“This year’s Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend was a
resounding success; in fact it was the most successful one eve,” says Messer. “I’ve
been involved with running this event at Pocklington Arts Centre for 16 years
and I couldn’t hope for a better venue.
“The PAC staff are so helpful, supportive and welcoming that
everyone, participants and tutors, want for nothing.
“In addition, the various hotels and restaurants around town
all welcomed us and provided us with fantastic service.
“All I can say is, ‘thank
you Pocklington and we very much look forward to next year’s Acoustic Blues and
Data collated from surveys conducted by the arts centre have
shown that students attending the weekend spent around £20,000, including
accommodation and visits to pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.
Arts centre director Janet Farmer says: “We said last year that our Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend just keeps going from strength to strength, but this year has just blown us away.
“Hosting the event not only fills our auditorium, studio and bar with the incredible sounds of acoustic blues and roots music, but also the average expenditure from every single student also makes for a resoundingly positive experience for everyone involved, including local businesses. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year.”
The 2020 Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend will take place from November 13 to 15. Watch this space for confirmation of when tickets will go on sale.
SNOW Patrol and Little Mix are the new additions to Scarborough Open Air
Theatre’s ever-expanding summer season for 2020.
Gary Lightbody’s Northern Irish indie rock band will play on July 4;
“the world’s biggest girl band” are booked in for July 21, boosting a line-up
already featuring Mixtape (Marc Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box) on July
10 and McFly on August 14.
Tickets will go on sale for Snow Patrol on Friday (November 29) at 9am,
preceded by Little Mix on Thursday at 9am, at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
This month, Snow Patrol have marked their 25th anniversary by
releasing Reworked, 13 reimagined versions of their back-catalogue peaks,
complemented by three new recordings, Time Won’t Go Slowly, Think Of Home and Made Of Something Different Now.
Next summer’s show is sure to feature the likes
of Run, You’re All I Have, Signal Fire, Called Out In The
Dark and Take Back the City and Chasing Cars, officially British
radio’s most played song of the 21st century. Expect to hear songs too from
2018’s Wildness, their first studio album after a seven-year hiatus.
Peter Taylor, director of Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert promoters
Cuffe and Taylor, says: “Snow Patrol are not only one of the biggest-selling UK
bands of the last 20 years, but they are also one of the most critically
acclaimed live acts. We are delighted to be bringing them to Scarborough for
“They are behind some of the best-loved indie rock anthems and these
special songs are going to sound amazing at this unique venue. I have
absolutely no doubts this is going to be an incredible night.”
Little Mix will head to Scarborough on July 21 as part of a 21-date Summer
2020 tour that will take in Hull College Craven Park Stadium, Hull, on July 12.
Scarborough OAT previously in July 2017 and this time will perform such hits as
Me, Touch, Shout Out To My Ex, Black Magic and Wings.
“Performing live is our favourite thing
to do as a band, we love it,” say The X Factor alumni Jade Thirlwall, Perrie
Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jesy Nelson. “Our last summer tour was one of
our favourites ever, so we can’t wait for some more brilliant outdoor shows
next year. We want everyone to come party with us in the sunshine.”
Record sales of 50
million have seen Little Mix notch up four number one singles, four
platinum-selling albums and nine platinum-selling singles in Britain,
surpassing a record previously held by the Spice Girls.
Their 2016 album Glory
Days was the biggest seller by a female group this century in the UK,
alongside being named the longest-reigning Top 40 album for a girl group
This year, Little Mix have toured
Europe, Australia, Japan and the United States and taken their LM5 Arena Tour
to Britain, Ireland and Europe.
Tickets for both Snow Patrol and Little Mix also will be on sale in person from the Scarborough Open Air Theatre, in Burniston Road, and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau, Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, and on 01723 818111 and 01723 383636. For Little Mix at Scarborough and Hull, visit livenation.co.uk.
AMERICAN soul icon Lionel Richie, British ska legends Madness and Irish pop stars Westlife will headline the first ever York Festival next year.
Mounted by Cuffe and Taylor, the three-day music festival will be held at York Sports Club, Clifton Park, Shipton Road, from June 19 to 21 2020.
Three-day passes, giving access to every night, are available at £129 from
today at york-festival.com. Tickets for each night go on sale at £39.50 at 9am on
Opening-night headliners Madness, the Camden Town Nutty Boys with a music-hall
wit and ska roots, will be joined by Ian Broudie’s Lightning Seeds; BBC radio presenter
Craig Charles, for a funk and soul DJ set; Leeds indie rockers Apollo Junction
and rising York act Violet Contours.
Westlife will play York Festival on the Saturday as part of their Stadiums
In The Summer Tour. Billed as “Britain’s top-selling album group of the 21st century”,
they will combine such hits as Swear It Again, Flying Without Wings and You
Raise Me Up with songs from their November 15 album, Spectrum.
Joining Westlife in the June 20 line-up will be All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bextor,
indie rock band Scouting For Girls and Take That’s Howard Donald for a DJ set.
On the closing night, Lionel Richie, 70, will be the star attraction as the four-time Grammy Award winner performs both solo and Commodores material.
Promoters Cuffe and
Taylor present the Scarborough Open Air Theatre concert programme each summer,
bringing Lionel Richie, Madness and Westlife to the East Coast in past years,
as well as the likes of Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Sir Elton John and Dame Kiri
They also staged Rod
Stewart’s York Racecourse concert on June 1 this summer, drawing 35,000 to a
specially erected amphitheatre in the centre of the Knavesmire course.
Director Peter Taylor
says: “This is the very first York Festival, so we wanted to make this a very
special debut year.
“To have Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness as headliners – alongside many
other brilliant chart-topping artists – is a real coup. We feel this is the
perfect line-up for the first year of what we hope will become a major annual
event in this wonderful and historic city.
“We cannot wait for Friday, June 19 and opening night. This really is
going to be a weekend to remember.”
York Festival will be staged at York Sports Club, the home of York RUFC, York Cricket Club, York Tennis Club and York Squash Club, where The Best Of York Music Festival was held on May 26, The Big Nineties Festival on October 25 and Oktoberfest on October 26.
Nigel Durham, Trustee of York Sports Club and Chairman of York Cricket
Club, said:“We are delighted to be hosting the first York Festival,
a major new event for the city of York.
“An historic city the size and stature of ours truly deserves a
high-profile music festival like this. And to be attracting such massive stars
as Lionel Richie, Westlife and Madness is just brilliant.
“And with the festival being staged in the heart of the city, right here
at York Sports Club, this really will capture the imagination and be a great
thing for the city, residents, local businesses and visitors.”
Cuffe and Taylor are working closely with City of York Council and Make It
York, whose role is to showcase and promote the city around the world.
Championing the inaugural York Festival, Sean Bullick, managing director
of Make It York, says: “York Festival will be a brilliant addition to the
city’s already busy calendar of summer events for both residents and visitors
“Welcoming such music legends and chart-topping artists, as well as
showcasing local talent, is another step forward for York’s cultural offer and
we are delighted to help spread the word to audiences.”
In addition to three-day passes and day tickets, a range of VIP offers are available. For more information, go to york-festival.com.
Son Of Town Hall, The Cockpit, Pickering, November 20 2019
WE ARE told organic is best, and here is a case in point. Son Of Town Hall are an itinerant duo, with one stock rooted in Simon & Garfunkel and the other in the Peaky Blinders era.
Ben Parker and David Berkeley’s voices meet somewhere in the mid-Atlantic and it’s a thrilling combination, floating on an intimate, warm bed of acoustic guitars.
The pair sail to Yorkshire most years, and it’s always a welcome return (the recent floods hastened their arrival). The tiny club was full, 30 souls sitting in airline seats to hear water-borne songs of love and loss up close. It’s the perfect den to hear live music.
Son Of Town Hall were touring to promote their first album, Adventures Of Son Of Town Hall. It has been a very long time in gestation by modern standards, supposedly recorded live on the raft they travel on.
Miraculously they chose perfectly still days to record and avoided any gimmicky shellac scratches. It ranks with the best of acoustic music released in 2019 – and by virtue of the genre, therefore any year – perhaps an unnecessary drum roll or two away from perfection. While it is music made for the tavern, the song craft worn on Cobbler’s Hill is breath-taking.
Their playful set covered pretty much their entire recorded output, interwoven with amusing interludes about their friendship. Named after a raft made of junk, it is fitting that their music in turn recycles, but, like a weathered pair of frigatebirds, they have picked the ageless bits that shimmer brightest. Some of the old jokes have gone overboard.
Highlights included Poseidon, which rang and soared, and the quietly devastating Louise. A couple of older songs were revived, with Snow In Mexico particularly welcome. Winds was the pick of the new material, while St Jerome was less fulfilling, missing a measure of grit.
The concept is wildly original, tunes built to last, and their pleasure in performing them so clear. You just hope they don’t tire of the act just as they reach a deservedly wider audience (with gigs this size, in about ten years…).
THE Shires, Britain’s biggest-selling country act, will return to York
Barbican on May 20 2020.
The announcement coincides with today’s release of New Year, a taster
single from their upcoming fourth album, Good Years, a title whose sentiment
reflects on the impact of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes’ two gold-certified
albums and three top ten singles.
The Shires will be playing 25 dates, with York as the only Yorkshire
destination, having last performed at the Barbican in May 2018.
As with 2015’s Brave, 2016’s My Universe and 2018’s Accidentally On
Purpose, Good Years was recorded in the home of country music, Nashville.
Earle and Rhodes describe it as a poignant project after becoming the
first British artists to win Best International Act at the CMA Awards.
“We’re so excited to be releasing Good Years, our fourth album recorded
in Nashville, and also to announce our next UK tour,” say the duo, who played
this July’s Platform Festival in Pocklington. “Honesty and storytelling have always
been such an important part of our songwriting. We’ve poured some of the
incredible experiences and life we’ve lived into these songs.
“We can’t wait to hit the road next year and play them live across the
country. The songs mean so much to us personally, but there really is nothing
like looking out at our fans in the crowd and seeing how much of an impact they can have in someone
else’s life. It’s truly a very special thing.”
Tickets will go on sale on Friday, November 29 at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk, on 0203 356 5441 or in person from the Barbican box office.
EIGHTIES’ pop icon Rick
Astley is the first headliner to be confirmed for next summer’s Music Showcase
Weekend at York Racecourse.
The Lancastrian crooner, 53,
will perform after the seven-race card on Saturday, July 25, in his return to
the North Yorkshire open air after his Dalby Forest concert on June 23 2017.
Tickets for the Astley
and racing double bill go on sale today at yorkracecourse.co.uk and on 01904
Newton-le-Willows, topped the charts in 25 countries in 1987 with Never Gonna
Give You Up, setting in motion a career that brought him eight consecutive British
top ten hits and 40 million sales.
After stepping aside to
focus on his family, he returned from his long hiatus in 2016 with his third
platinum seller, 50, a number one album on which he played all the instruments,
as well as writing and producing it.
He repeated that creative process
for 2018’s Beautiful Life, and last month he released the career-spanning
compilation The Best Of Me, a double disc that included
an independently recorded set of reimagined interpretations of
his songs, old and new.
This year, Astley joined
Take That’s 38-date stadium tour as their special guest, playing to more than
500,000 people. In the summer too, he graced Reading Festival’s main stage,
performing Never Gonna Give You Up with Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters, no less.
Since releasing 50, he has sold more than 100,000 tickets to his own British headline
shows, including Leeds First Direct Arena last year, and his forthcoming tour
dates take in gigs in Australia and Japan, plus his New
Zealand debut, before arriving at York Racecourse next July.
James Brennan, head of marketing and sponsorship at York Racecourse, says: “Everyone at the course is really excited that a northern boy is set to play York. Add in the spectacle of the racing itself and we hope it will prove a summer day to savour.”
Astley’s show will be one of three race-day concerts on the Knavesmire course next summer, with further acts to be announced for Saturday, June 27 and the evening meeting on Friday, July 24.
Musical Theatre Company will stage Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus
Christ Superstar from November 27 to 30 at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.
newcomer John Whitney will lead director Paul Laidlaw’s cast for this 1972 rock
opera, a “musical phenomenon” that follows the last week of Jesus’s life through
the eyes of Judas Iscariot, exploring the struggles and personal relationships
between his followers and disciples.
gritty and touching emotional rollercoaster ride, Lloyd Webber and Rice’s score
parades such favourites as Superstar, Everything’s Alright and I Don’t Know How
To Love Him.
joined in the creative team by musical director John Atkin, overseeing a cast
led by Whitney’s Jesus, Marlena Kelli’s Mary Magdalene, Peter Wookie as Pilate
and Chris Mooney as Judas.
“We were thrilled
to have such a great response to auditions, particularly from so many new faces
to the company,” says Laidlaw. “We’ve always been proud of the fact that we
welcome any new people to join any show that we do, and if you’re new, you can
walk into lead roles, and that’s what’s happened.
actors playing Jesus, Judas, Pilate and Mary Magdalene are all new to the company
and it’s really encouraging to see. The strength in the singing is staggering
and is going to sound just fantastic on stage. We really can’t wait to show
York audiences all our hard work.”
principal roles go to John Haigh as Herod; Chris Haygard as Simon Zealotes;
Martin Harvey, Caiphas; Matthew Clare, Annas; Simon Trow and Malcolm Poole,
Priests; David Martin, Apostle Peter, and Heather Richmond, Maid.
In the ensemble will be Helen Barugh; Victoria Hughes; Helen Goodwill; Samantha Hindman; Jane Holiday; Elly-Mai Mawson; Karen Mawson; Jennifer Page; Amie Stone; Holly Inch; Amy Lacy; Paula Stainton; Charlotte Wetherell; Matthew Ainsworth; Derek McMahon and Andrew Pilot.
Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday matinee are on sale at £18, concessions £16, at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk or on 01904 501935.
MARC Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box will lead the Mixtape line-up of
Eighties and Nineties acts at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on July 10 next
Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (November 22) at 9am for the second SOAT show to be confirmed for 2020 after McFly were booked in for August 14. Peter Taylor, directorof venue programmers Cuffe and Taylor, says: “We are delighted to announce Mixtape, the much-requested return of an ‘80s and ‘90s night to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
“Previous shows have always been a big party night and, since the last ‘80s and ‘90s night here in 2017, we’ve been repeatedly asked for another one. We’ve listened, and Mixtape is here for summer 2020. “Marc Almond, Heaven 17 and Living In A Box are not only three great artists with a string of major hits between them, but they all have such a strong local connection. We feel sure this will be another great night on the stunning Yorkshire coast.” Lancashire-born Marc Almond first made his mark as frontman of chart-topping Leeds synthpop duo Soft Cell before branching out into a diverse solo career. He was awarded an OBE for services to music and the arts, an Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, an Icon Award by Attitude Magazine and a Mojo Magazine Inspiration Award, as well as receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Leeds College of Music.
Sheffield electronic stalwarts Heaven 17 will celebrate their 40th
anniversary in 2020. Born out of the schism in the original Human League, they still
feature Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware, makers of such hits as Temptation and Come
Live With Me and the albums Penthouse And Pavement and The Luxury Gap.
Fellow Sheffield band Living In A Box have joined forces with double BRIT
nominee Kenny Thomas, the Nineties’ soul singer, who has taken over the lead vocals.
Tickets will be on sale at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com, in person from the SOAT box office, in Burniston Road, or the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau, in Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, or on 01723818111 and 01723 383636.
BAH Humbug! The
Christmas spirit is taking over the Grand Opera House, York, from Tuesday and
not even Ebenezer Scrooge can stop it.
York company Pick Me
Up Theatre are presenting their big winter show, Scrooge The Musical, directed
by Robert Readman, with choreography by Iain Harvey and musical direction by
course: based on Charles Dickens’s Victorian cautionary tale A Christmas Carol,
Scrooge tells the tale of old miser Ebenezer Scrooge on the night he is visited
by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.
Can he be turned
from sourpuss to saint? What will happen to Tiny Tim? Will everyone have a
merry Christmas after all? “Come and find out in this all-singing, all-dancing,
all-flying show,” invites Robert.
His cast will be led by Pick Me Up regular Mark Hird, fresh from directing this autumn’s musical, Monster Makers, at 41 Monkgate. He now adds Scrooge to a diverse CV that includes Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s Army, Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady and Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.
roles go to Rory Mulvihill as the jolly Ghost of Christmas Present and Alan
Park as Scrooge’s long-suffering clerk Bob Cratchit.
“It started out as a film musical in
1970, adapted for the screen by Leslie Bricusse, with Albert Finney as
Scrooge,” recalls Mark. “But it was one of those musicals that landed at an
unlucky time just as film musicals went out of fashion.
“Everyone thought it was an absolute banker, but times and tastes change,
but now, when you go back to it, it’s actually a really good film.
“So, 22 years later, Leslie Bricusse decided to turn it into a stage
musical, wrote half a dozen new songs, written specially for Anthony Newley’s
Scrooge, and it went down incredibly well.”
Alan Park chips in: “Then it became a vehicle for Tommy Steele for many
years in Bill Kenwright’s productions. Each year, Robert Readman put in a
request for the performing rights, and at last, this year he got a ‘Yes’.
“So, this must be the first time it will have been done in a theatre of
this size without it being a Bill Kenwright show.”
Park and Hird believe that Bricusse’s songs are vital to the show’s success.
“They provide the vehicle for you to discover more about the characters beyond
Scrooge, like Bob, so that by the end of a song you know more about them,” says
“You get the inner
thoughts of the characters in the songs, so you get more than 2D characters,”
suggests Mark. “You really see Scrooge’s progression, through his songs, for
“You’re also quite
surprised by the sheer variety of the songs and the music, with some big
“There are some
proper Cockney knees-up songs,” says Alan.
“But also some
lovely ballads, like when Scrooge sees the only girl he ever loved as a young
man, Isabel, his fiancée,” rejoins Mark. You go back in time and you hear her singing this gorgeous ballad
with Young Scrooge called Happiness, as old Scrooge looks on.”
“The way Robert has
staged it, you have Young Scrooge and old Scrooge mirroring each other’s
actions, so you kind of feel like Isabel is singing it to old Scrooge,” says
Picking up his
earlier point about Scrooge’s character progression, Mark says: “Through his
songs, Scrooge goes from his position of denial, saying how he hates Christmas,
to feeling ‘it’s not my fault, fate has done this to me’, when confronted by
the Ghost of Christmas Past.
“Then, with the
Ghost Of Christmas Present, he starts to think, ‘Could there be a better
life?’, so it’s a fantastic story arc and a fantastic set of songs, with one of
the most perfect stories ever written to hang it all together.”
A Christmas Carol
has been interpreted in myriad ways on screen and stage, even by The Muppets
puppets in 1992 in The Muppet Christmas Carol “My five-year-old daughter is
still convinced I’m playing a frog in Scrooge, because her exposure to A
Christmas Carol is seeing Kermit playing Bob Cratchit in the Muppets’ movie!”
abiding popularity of Dickens’ tale, Alan says: “It’s not just about
redemption. We all reflect on moments in our life, wishing we could have done
things differently, and the story also taps into nostalgia and regret and
worrying about things.
“Watching this story
unfold, it can change your perspective on the world and who you are.”
Mark adds: “It also
says it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf and never too late to start
“The story is full
of joyful moments that are infectious, even infecting Scrooge, so I do feel
it’s a feelgood show,” says Alan. “If you’re looking at a wider point, we all
tend to focus on what’s getting us down, but this story lets us step out and
think about all the joyful things of Christmas.”
Mark concludes: “There’s probably no better show to put you in a good mood for Christmas.”
Pick Me Up Theatre’s Scrooge The Musical runs from November 26 to December 1 at Grand Opera House, York. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york.
EIGHTIES’ pop star Kim Wilde will play
York Barbican on September 17 next year on her Greatest Hits 2020 Tour.
Wilde, 59, last performed there on her
Here Come The Aliens tour in April 2018, her first on home soil in almost 30
years, after releasing a studio album that year inspired by a real-life close
encounter in the gardening expert’s back garden in 2009.
Wilde subsequently released the live
album Aliens Live, and next year she will be marking her 40 years in pop that
began as “the voice of a generation of rebellious youth” with Kids In America.
Her Greatest Hits Tour will take in
further hits such as Chequered Love, Water On Glass, View From A Bridge, You Keep
Me Hangin’ On, Cambodia, You Came, Never Trust A Stranger and Four Letter Worn, complemented the
less often aired A Million Miles Away and Love Is Holy. As in 2018, her band
will include two drummers.
Her special guests will be fellow
Eighties’ chart act China Crisis, best known for Wishful Thinking, King In A
Catholic Style, Black Man Ray and African And White.
Tickets go on sale from Friday at 9am on 0203 356 5441, at yorkbarbican.co.uk or from the Barbican box office in person.